Uber Shooting Victim, 14, Clings to Life and Squeezes Mother's Hand After Being Declared Brain Dead
Family members began preparing for her death.
brightcove.createExperiences(); A 14-year-old girl who was shot in the head allegedly by a Michigan Uber driver and declared brain dead is clinging to life in the hospital – squeezing her mother’s hand just as surgeons were preparing to harvest her organs, authorities tell PEOPLE.
The teen, whose name was not released, was one of eight people allegedly shot by 45-year-old Jason Brian Dalton on Saturday as he drove Uber passengers around Kalamazoo, Michigan, according to the Michigan State Police. Six of the victims died.
On Sunday, one hour after doctors at Bronson Methodist Hospital declared the teen brain dead, her parents got an incredible sign, Michigan State Police First Lt. Dale Hinz tells PEOPLE.
“Her mom and her dad were told that she was brain dead and that it was unlikely that there was anything else they could do for her,” Hinz says.
“She squeezes her mother’s hand and her mother begins to communicate with her.”
As soon as her mother felt her daughter communicating, she called in doctors, who began to ask the Battle Creek-native questions using the “thumbs up” method.
According to Hinz, the teen didn’t just give one thumb up, but two, in response to questions.
“It was a miracle,” Hinz says. “The one ray of hope and light that we have in this very dark situation.”
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The teen was with her grandmother in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel after a play on Saturday night when she was shot after Dalton allegedly opened fire at random, Hinz says.
She was rushed to Bronson Methodist Hospital, where she was declared brain dead and placed on a ventilator while her parents began making preparations for her organs to be harvested. That process can take up to two days, Hinz says.
After she communicated with her family and doctors on Sunday, she was rushed into surgery.
The teen is currently heavily sedated and not responsive, says Hinz, who has been in communication with the family since Sunday morning. She remains in critical condition.
“It is incredible,” Hinz says of the victim’s condition. “But she has a very long path to walk.”